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Mastering Appium Desktop - A Comprehensive Guide by HeadSpin

A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Mobile Testing Efficiency with Appium Desktop

May 14, 2024
 Rohith Ramesh Rohith Ramesh
Rohith Ramesh


The demand for applications that captivate and retain users is ever-increasing in today's fast-paced development environment. This demand has highlighted the importance of automation testing. As users anticipate new app versions with advanced features being released every few weeks, automation testing is crucial in enabling development and testing professionals to deliver high-quality apps within tight deadlines.

Appium, a popular choice for automated mobile app testing, offers a solution for executing automated tests on native and hybrid apps. Its capabilities contribute to faster and more accurate testing results. This article aims to delve into the process of performing automated app testing using Appium Desktop.

Exploring Appium Desktop

Appium Desktop emerges as a novel open-source GUI application compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It offers users the prowess of the Appium automation server in a meticulously structured interface, enhancing usability with its flexible UI.

This application amalgamates two pivotal components of Appium:

  • Appium Server: A server instance facilitating app testing and test automation.
  • Appium Inspector: A tool for scrutinizing and acquiring comprehensive details about app UI elements.

With Appium Desktop, users can effortlessly craft test scripts, swiftly set up an Appium test server, and establish the Appium environment seamlessly upon installation.

Benefits of Using Appium Desktop

Appium Desktop stands out as an indispensable tool for automated testing across native, mobile web, and hybrid applications, offering the following key advantages:

  1. Cost-Efficiency: As an open-source solution, Appium Desktop liberates testers from the financial burden of expensive licenses for tools and frameworks.
  2. Device Connectivity: Testers can seamlessly connect mobile devices to Appium Desktop, facilitating automated testing directly on the device.
  3. Inspector Functionality: Appium Desktop's Inspector feature empowers testers to inspect web elements comprehensively, simplifying the testing process by providing essential details like element IDs.
  4. Action Recording: Testers can execute and record actions directly within the application, generating code snippets that aid in testing and debugging workflows.
  5. Configurational Flexibility: With the ability to pre-set configurations through desired capabilities, Appium Desktop streamlines the testing process, enhancing convenience for testers.
Read: A Step-by-Step Guide to Test Automation with Appium

Key Features of Appium for Desktop

Consider the following three main features of Appium for desktop:

1. Desktop Client/Server Integration:

  • Equipped with a user-friendly GUI, it allows users to view logs, configure options, and control the server's start/stop functions seamlessly.
  • Eliminates the need for manual installation via the node package manager as Appium for desktop includes all necessary components.
  • Within the Appium server interface, users can access three distinct tabs: Pre-set, Advanced, and Simple, enhancing customization and control.

2. Inspector Tool:

  • A vital component for identifying UI elements within mobile applications accurately.
  • It is compatible with real devices and simulators and enables thorough inspection of application elements.
  • To initiate an inspection, users must configure desired capabilities, providing crucial information to the Appium server regarding the targeted application and platform for automation.

3. Action Recorder:

  • Facilitates the recording of user actions, enabling the generation of test codes effortlessly.
  • Users can initiate the recording by connecting the device to Appium for the desktop.
  • Upon completion, users can create a new Test Class and integrate the generated code into platforms like Eclipse for further analysis and error review.
Also read: A Comprehensive Appium Guide for Hybrid App Automation Testing

Initiating with Appium Desktop

Before diving into the setup process, installing and configuring specific prerequisite tools is crucial, as Appium Desktop functions within an ecosystem of complementary software. Here's a step-by-step guide to get started:

1. Install Java and Configure Environment Variables:

  • Ensure Java is installed on your system and configure the necessary environment variables to enable seamless integration with other tools and applications.

2. Set up Android Studio and Environment Variables:

  • Install Android Studio and configure environment variables related to the Android development environment, facilitating compatibility with Appium Desktop.

3. Install Eclipse IDE for Java:

  • Install the Eclipse IDE tailored for Java development, providing a robust writing and managing code platform.

4. Download and Install Appium Desktop:

  • Download and install Appium Desktop, the central component for automated testing.

5. Obtain Appium Jars for Eclipse:

Starting the Appium Server: Once Appium Desktop is successfully installed, configure the Host and Port values to initiate the Appium Server, laying the foundation for automated testing processes.

Running Tests with Appium Desktop

1. Obtaining Mobile Phone Details: To test applications on a mobile phone, Appium requires device details such as Device ID/UDID, Android Version, appPackage, and appActivity names. Testers can obtain the Device ID by connecting the device to the desktop and executing the "ADB devices" command in the command prompt.

2. Writing the Appium Test Script: To craft the Appium Test Script, begin by creating a new project in Eclipse. Subsequently, generate the required package and class within the project structure. In this script example, which opens the Google Chrome app on an Android mobile phone under test, testers need to set the Desired Capabilities and instantiate the Appium Driver.

Here's the complete Appium test script code snippet:

public class AppiumTesting {
	public static void main(String[] args) {
    	// Setting Desired Capabilities
    	DesiredCapabilities caps = new DesiredCapabilities();
caps.setCapability("deviceName", "Phone");
    	caps.setCapability("udid", "//Mention the UDID of phone"); 
caps.setCapability("platformName", "Android");
caps.setCapability("platformVersion", "8.0");
caps.setCapability("appPackage", "");
caps.setCapability("appActivity", "");
caps.setCapability("noReset", "true");
    	// Instantiating Appium Driver
    	try {
        	AppiumDriver<MobileElement> driver = new AndroidDriver<MobileElement>(new URL("//Mention host url"), caps); 
    	} catch (MalformedURLException e) {

3. Starting Appium Desktop Inspector: Appium Desktop Inspector is utilized to identify the UI elements of the application being tested, compatible with both real devices and simulators/emulators. Upon initiating the Appium Server, testers can commence the Inspector Session by selecting the Search icon within the Appium logs screen. By entering the Desired Capabilities details, testers can inspect elements for the desired app and record the session on the cloud.

4. Inspecting UI Elements using Appium Desktop Inspector: To demonstrate the inspection of UI elements using Appium Desktop Inspector, let's explore a scenario involving the examination of the Search Bar within the Wikipedia App. Testers will receive comprehensive details about the selected element after highlighting the search bar. The script can utilize these details to conduct tests on the specific element.


By running the provided code snippet, testers can obtain the text "Google," written in the Search bar of the Wikipedia App and printed on the console. This demonstrates how to utilize Appium Desktop to run test scripts for automated testing of mobile applications.

Leveraging HeadSpin Remote Connect with Appium Desktop for Remote Testing

Discover the seamless testing experience offered by HeadSpin, coupled with the power of Appium Desktop, enabling remote testing across a diverse array of real devices worldwide. Here's what you can achieve:

  • Device Variety: Choose from a wide selection of mobile and tablet devices to conduct your tests, ensuring comprehensive coverage.
  • Remote Access and Debugging: Effortlessly access and debug your application on real devices directly from your desktop, eliminating the need for local team support or SDK installations.
  • Real Network Testing: Say goodbye to simulations and embrace real network testing on HeadSpin's global device network, ensuring accurate results reflective of real-world conditions.
  • Convenient Testing: Run multiple manual and automated tests at your convenience, streamlining your testing workflow.
  • Parallel Testing: Conduct tests simultaneously on concurrent desktops and devices without experiencing any delays, maximizing efficiency.
  • No Virtual Machines Required: Enjoy reliable test sessions on real devices without needing virtual machines, simplifying the testing process.

Enhancing Test Automation with HeadSpin's Advanced Appium Capabilities

Discover the seamless integration of HeadSpin's cutting-edge Appium support, including the latest version, Appium 2.0. This collaboration equips organizations with features designed to streamline and optimize platform testing. Here's a glimpse of what HeadSpin's Appium capabilities offer:

  1. Cloud-Based Testing: Harness HeadSpin's extensive global device infrastructure for cloud-based testing with Appium. Testers obtain access to a wide range of real devices, eliminating the necessity for physical hardware and reducing testing time and infrastructure expenses.
  2. Integrated Appium Inspector: Seamlessly integrated with Appium Inspector, HeadSpin's user interface simplifies element identification and script development. Testers can effortlessly view hierarchies, identify selectors, and craft Appium code templates directly within the HeadSpin cloud platform.
  3. Scalability and Performance Testing: Utilize HeadSpin's robust scalability and performance testing infrastructure with Appium. Simulate numerous concurrent users across varied network conditions and geographical locations, ensuring authentic performance evaluation.
  4. End-to-end Testing: HeadSpin facilitates end-to-end testing scenarios by seamlessly integrating mobile app testing with web application testing. This cohesive approach guarantees comprehensive coverage and maintains consistency in test outcomes.
  5. Extensive Device and OS Coverage: Benefit from HeadSpin's vast device inventory, encompassing multiple manufacturers, models, and operating systems. This comprehensive coverage ensures thorough compatibility testing across diverse devices, enhancing app reliability and user experience.

What's Next?

Appium Desktop is a powerful tool for accurate and comprehensive automated testing across hybrid, native, and web applications. Identifying and resolving bugs, anomalies, and potential issues ensures a seamless user experience. Running Appium tests on real mobile devices is essential for optimal results, as it provides 100% accurate results in real user conditions.

With HeadSpin's unparalleled capabilities, Appium becomes a formidable asset for mobile app automation testing. Leveraging HeadSpin's extensive device inventory, cloud-based testing, and integrated Appium Inspector, testers can maximize the efficiency and scalability of their automation testing processes.

Embrace the synergy between Appium and HeadSpin to unlock optimal outcomes in automation testing and deliver reliable, top-notch apps to your user base.

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Q1. How does the Appium Desktop Inspector enhance testing processes? 

Ans: The Appium Inspector serves as a GUI assistant tool for Appium, offering visual inspection of the application being tested. It displays screenshots of the application's pages alongside its page source, providing testers with essential features for interacting with the app seamlessly.

Q2. How do Appium Desktop and Appium Studio differ? 

Ans: While Appium Desktop requires the addition of Desired Capabilities to initiate communication with a device, Appium Studio offers a plug-and-play approach. With Appium Studio, users can easily connect their devices and perform actions, making it a more user-friendly option for establishing connections.

A Comprehensive Guide to Maximizing Mobile Testing Efficiency with Appium Desktop

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